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Home✈️Aircraft🚁HelicopterHelicopter Main Discussion › Thoughts on decline of Heli hobby
07-05-2020 11:28 PM  79 days ago
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kencol

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Thoughts on decline of Heli hobby
Heres a can of worms.
Having started in the early 80's with Schluter Heliboy-Raptor 50 and MiniTitan[great lurner heli-cheap to buy and cheap to repair]and up to a Align 550 FBL heli now.

I have watched the ups and downs of the heli hobby with interest over the years.
I know drones and RTF planes have flooded cheaply into the market, but there was always a core of people who only wanted to fly model Helis
.
However cost and complication seems to have taken a toll on the uptake for 'the average person'.
The extra cost of Bling parts and cost replacement of these parts is off putting.

The complication of fbl systems to setup and reset after crashes is also much harder than flybay systems. However safe modes now available on fbl systems now makes it a bit easier for lurners[even after a lot of practise on a sim]..I think the companies should have made Safe Mode available many years ago when fbl systems 1st came out.

Remember I'am talking about the 'average' person who is interested in model Helis to Lurn and Sport fly.

The experianced flyers have already made the jump to grade[although we are loosing a few of them as well]

But whats important is to get interested up and coming flyers to try and stay with the hobby.
Scale flying has helped a bit here.
Good Heli flying is throwing it at the ground and missing
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07-06-2020 02:37 PM  78 days ago
Eco8gator

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The helicopter hobby is difficult even with the newest tech...but definitally easier than where I started in the early 2000s...

People want instant gratification and I feel multirotors scratch the itch or vertical lift and have unmatched durability...not to mention it's significantly less expensive and much easier to learn.

I also feel that helis have lost their soul. They all feel the same to me because the feel comes from the flybarless system and I don't care what setting you use it feels robotic.

I have been working to pickup vintage electric helis just to remind myself how far things have come. So far I have an Kyosho EP Concept SR and a Logo 10; I already have an Eco 8. The Logo is the only legitimate 3D machine but I do enjoy scale type flying with the other 2. My highly modified 90 sized Joker 3DD electric helis is still my primary 90 sized beast to have a lot of fun.

In short I believe the decline is going to continue unfortunately.
Xera Motors
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07-06-2020 06:35 PM  78 days ago
Goober1228

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One problem "I think" is that with the ever increasing decline of interest in rc helicopters, is which model to buy from either new or established companies. Example, is Gaui, I just purchased a second hand X7. It is a beautiful bird, fully updated, and also Discontinued! I made a conscious decision to buy this bird knowing this (parts still very available). Parts will dry up for this when they stop producing the NX7. They just changed up thier linup and the flagship (NEX6) is barely making them money! (This info I received directly from Gaui).
Point is, even a great company like Gaui, may disappear like so many before them.
Solid companies for now, would be SAB Goblin, Mikado, Oxy, Soxos, Peak, Miniature Aircraft. And of course, Hirobo, Quest and Prodrone for those of us who crave Japanese offerings.
I am not crazy about the way Chinese RC companies treat thier products or customers in regards to helicopters so I don't include manufacturers based there: ALZRC,Tarot, and yes MSH.
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07-07-2020 02:13 AM  78 days ago
wjvail

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Goober1228 Solid companies for now, would be SAB Goblin, Mikado, Oxy, Soxos, Peak, Miniature Aircraft. And of course, Hirobo, Quest and Prodrone for those of us who crave Japanese offerings.
Curious you left off Align.
"Well, nothing bad can happen now."
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07-07-2020 02:06 PM  77 days ago
Goober1228

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Point noted, They deserve to be right with the other "solid" brands I mentioned. They have a very refined line of offerings.
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07-07-2020 11:57 PM  77 days ago
Infarcted

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Another point about RC flying in general is that it takes literally a lot of toll on time (to build , rectify ,repair ,travel to field ,internet time to shop for parts) and on the wallet .The other point is life circumstances change ,from single to married to family , and priorities change. That's why we always have people on this forum taking long hiatuses and returning 10 years later finding everything's changed and not willing to relearn something which is going to take time and money and heaps of research .
I even note that some of the previous well informed contributors here have been conspicuous by their absences in the last 3-4 years. They did wonderful work with their knowledge sharing and gave precise information .
And these days , the available helis (LOGOS, SAB's , Aligns ) seem dressed to kill . There are no real base models available and power plants are too menacing .My 2 cents.
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07-08-2020 11:30 AM  77 days ago
Goober1228

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That is a good point, all the time and attention, research adjustments / experiments, the hobby can be harder than some if not most day jobs! (lol no offense to anyone).
Like you said, the more involved with family, the more competition for time,
and Family wins over helicopters.
Fortunately for me I'm in the middle aged group so I have more (bob time) to sort out all of these new issues in regards to the hobby!
In regards to a base model heli, if I may suggest a new but also kind of retro bird in the Gaui NEX6. Cheap- kit under $500. Out of box- will be a 6s electric (like old school T-rex 600e). For some additional money, conversion kits can be purchased to convert it to either 12s or nitro.
(I am not a dealer and have no stake in Gaui except my X7)
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07-08-2020 09:02 PM  76 days ago
utahbob

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St. George Utah

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Don't forget Synergy..I think they're still in business!..I always wince when I hear folks say the new models are too complicated..I'm a dolt with electronic stuff but I have been able to setup several flybarless models with pretty good sucess..I found Bert Kammerer and Bobby Watts tutorials very helpful in learning..my Logo 550sx has over 600 great flights on it..I don't miss fooling around with flybar paddles trying to get the right feel..you can tune a good fbl system to way you like it..I think the hobby in America has dropped off because of laziness and fear of risking that is becoming pervasive in America..young peeps in our society too afraid to learn a new job skill or go out on a limb to seek "their path" would rather sit on a couch and play video games (no risk) or go out and protest cause things aren't coming their way..IMHO.I do a great decending funnel!
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07-09-2020 01:39 PM  75 days ago
Goober1228

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I totally spaced out Synergy, they are looking poised as well.
The hobby seems to be more like it used to be in Asia and Europe.
Many more folks seem to be attached to their older models and it shows.
Great companies like Hirobo and Quest (which sell in Greater Asia, UK and Germany) can only be purchased from Europe or Japan - if they will even ship to USA. Most here In america have way too short attention spans and even less patience to wrap themselves around this hobby! My 3 cents...
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07-09-2020 11:35 PM  75 days ago
helitom

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What's wrong!....No kids!

I am 76 and my club has 85 members. 95% of the members look like me. No one builds airplanes; they all seem to fly the foam crap. When I do see a heli new to someone, it is one of those tiny, twitchy piles of plastic ....., not something they built. Very little shows up at the field that would spark an interest in others.
The older I get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.
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07-10-2020 12:40 AM  75 days ago
wjvail

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I don't think there is any question the heli-hobby has retracted; however, quite frankly, as someone who has flown helicopters since the mid '80s, I felt a little cheated when EVERONE could build and fly a model helicopter. There used to be an exclusivity to this branch of the hobby. For reasons not entirely clear to me, everyone started flying toy helicopters. And kits and engines became so good even the most inept could get one in the air. That trend increased 10 fold with the introduction of eclectic models. Then came FBL and don't get me started on "rescue" and "bailout". Now we are becoming more "unique" again.

Never mind all that.

The hobby is here and we are drifting along. Our club participation in model helicopters has always been a small but enjoyable group of guys. Several of our members are discovering how fun this can be. Only this last weekend Dale took off the training gear and Patrick (a member here) has been advancing really quickly and seems to be having fun doing it.

First flight without the training gear... A secondhand T-Rex flybared model with Futaba 401 gyro. Does it get any better?

Watch at YouTube

Another of our newest model helicopter pilots that seems to be have a blast... (I should add Patrick flew models a long time ago. He is not "new" to model helicopters but is returning to them.)

Watch at YouTube

"Well, nothing bad can happen now."
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07-10-2020 01:28 AM  75 days ago
FLT6SPD

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For me life and workload took me away for a few years not to mention our prized Bayside RC field was shuttered to make room for mass transit, but always held on to the helis. Even recently buying a few more antiques with anticipation that it will come full circle and get some air time.

I think there are a quite a few people who troll the boards but do not post much, such as myself.
AMA#840804
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07-10-2020 09:00 PM  74 days ago
readytofly

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flying rc helis is hard. costs play a role, for sure, because flying things have a tendency to crash expensively.

when I started flying a few years ago, helis weren't that expensive or sophisticated. today, it seems everybody wants to have hv servos, awesome ESCs and powerful motors. Of course it all makes the hobby more expensive and not everyone is willing to invest all that money in a hobby.

when things are cheap, many people who actually won't love the hobby start flying just for the sake of curiosity or copying someone else. natural selection take them away and only the ones who really love the hobby will stay, but surely having more people experimenting the hobby would make it grow.
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07-10-2020 09:46 PM  74 days ago
wjvail

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You don't actually build and fly model helicopters on Tuvalu do you? How is that even possible?"Well, nothing bad can happen now."
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07-12-2020 10:05 AM  73 days ago
PaulBowen

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Australia

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I’m just happy doing my own thing and know I’m the only heli flyer in my club. I socialise with the fixed wing flyers. I’ve reduced my fleet to two machines now.

Quest Neo Caliber ZG FBL and Hirobo Freya EVO SWM OP. The Freya I’m in the process of converting to electric. I love my Japanese helicopters and will never support the Chinese brands. As long as I have Quest and Hirobo I’ll be a happy helicopter flyer even if I do so alone.
Quest NEO Caliber ZG, Zenoah G260PUH, CGY760R, NHP 750, NHP 115.
JR Propo Ergo 30, OS 32SX-H, Edge 550, Edge 90.
Futaba T18SZ
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07-12-2020 04:52 PM  72 days ago
Goober1228

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I have been having a lot of fun with one of my birds which is an e-converted Freya. I have been experimenting with different flybarless systems interacting with it's HPM (mechanical mix) system. Out on a limb!
Hirobo will make parts for most of their birds forever regardless of demand!(so far)
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07-12-2020 07:58 PM  72 days ago
cobieg

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wjvail
Goober1228 Solid companies for now, would be SAB Goblin, Mikado, Oxy, Soxos, Peak, Miniature Aircraft. And of course, Hirobo, Quest and Prodrone for those of us who crave Japanese offerings.
Curious you left off Align.
Goober1228 Point noted, They deserve to be right with the other "solid" brands I mentioned. They have a very refined line of offerings.
All of my helis are of the Align brand. Never had a problem with any of them. I just found out that they are making a 650X. I watched Alan Zabo jr.
beat the hell out of one on you tube. Anyway, I don't fly the 3d style, all of my bigger stuff is in scale fuselage. One can get a few $ invested in this stuff so, when I land, my hands shake just as bad as the guy who just beat one into submission lol. As far as foamy airplanes go, for a couple of hundred you cant beat the entertainment for the buck. But to teach someone, or build a kit yourself you cant go wrong.

Ron
I didn't crash. I just ran out of airspeed, altitude, and ideas all at the same time!
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07-13-2020 12:40 PM  71 days ago
Goober1228

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I still have a first gen t-rex 450pro and 500epro and the thing I love about them is the shaft drive tails! Really smooth and no drag on the motor.
(never quite understood why the industry frowns on shaft drives now)
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07-13-2020 01:28 PM  71 days ago
cobieg

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Easier to put into a scale fuselage too .

Ron
I didn't crash. I just ran out of airspeed, altitude, and ideas all at the same time!
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07-13-2020 02:02 PM  71 days ago
Goober1228

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An amendment to this post in regards to TSH GAUI, to all owners of the excellent X7, Gaui is Absolutely still producing the X7 FZ. They never added this version to their Discontinued list. I read it wrong! They just stopped producing the outmoded versions and combo packages. They just retooled their site. My apologies.
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Home✈️Aircraft🚁HelicopterHelicopter Main Discussion › Thoughts on decline of Heli hobby
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